MTGO: A Guide to Magic Online

When I first started playing Magic, the hardest thing for me was finding a time I didn’t want to play. I wanted to play Magic all the time, so I did the most important thing of all: I made sure my home computer was running Windows. Magic Online can only run on Windows machines so that’s a must. You can check other specifications and download here, but I would recommend that you have plenty of RAM on your machine to run it proficiently. Having access to Magic Online truly helped satisfy the cravings I had all the time to battle. I wouldn’t say it fixed the issue, but if you’re having that much fun I wouldn’t really call it an issue anyway. Finding something you love is great and Magic Online helped me have what I wanted anytime I could squeeze in a match.

Other than just being able to play games, the biggest benefit of Magic Online was simply getting better. Players often ask me what they should do to improve, and my number one answer is to start playing Magic Online. Playing more Magic is the most important part of getting better at Magic. To quote the ever-wise Jake the Dog of Adventure Time fame, “Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.” This couldn’t be truer, especially with Magic, where it takes a lot of time in order to learn all of the decks and interactions you’re bound to encounter.

Magic Online not only helped improve my technical play skill, such as tapping mana, attacking, and blocking correctly, but greatly improved my understanding of the rules. “Greatly” might even be an understatement for how much Magic Online reinforced the rules in my mind. Having a user interface that forced me to follow every tiny rule increased my understanding tremendously. Being much more knowledgeable about the rules led helped me notice violations quickly, meaning I have to call the judge less and can settle disputes with my opponents easier.

If I’ve managed to convince you that Magic Online is for you by this point then the question on your mind should be, “How do I start?” The best way to do so is by choosing what format or formats you’d like to play. Magic’s most played competitive formats are Standard and Modern. These are by far the most popular constructed formats online, but there are loads of players who play limited, pauper, brawl, legacy, and even vintage.

After you’ve chosen a format that you’d like to start with you’ll need to do the same for a deck you’d like to play and acquire the cards. There are a few ways to go about doing so, but the two I would recommend is buying the cards yourself or renting them. Buying and/or renting cards can be done in a few different ways, but my favorite sites are listed below. Almost all of them use bots to automatically make trades with you. Usually, you can trade your virtual cards for “event tickets,” which can be used as currency in Magic Online to buy cards or enter tournaments.

MTGO Wiki – I would recommend this site if you’d rather shop around between bots to save a few tickets, but spend more time doing so.

MTGO Traders – I would recommend this site if you don’t mind spending 5% more but can get all cards from a single source in a single trade.

Mana Traders – This is the only way to currently rent decks online. I would recommend this if you aren’t completely sure of what decks you want to commit to or if you do not wish to spend the amount necessary to buy a full deck outright.

MTG Goldfish – This is another great resource for Magic Online players. This site can be used to see prices for cards, metagame percentages, and as well as content made almost exclusively for Magic Online players.

Above are the most important steps for getting into Magic Online, as well as some good resources for doing so. The last thing I will leave you with is a few good points to help you adjust to the digital world of Magic.

  • Get used to hotkeys and change them if that helps you. This can be done in settings.
  • Take time when you need it. Don’t be afraid to take a few minutes on a hard decision and think everything through. You have 25 minutes for each match. Use it!
  • Misclicks can happen. Just move on and try to prevent them in the future. There is no reason to ruin the rest of your game or match because of one misclick.
  • Don’t be afraid to play games. Jump in there and battle!

Lastly, for those ready to dive into Magic Online or wanting more in-depth guide after having your interest peaked from this piece I would recommend this by Cardhoarder. It is a tad bit older, but still holds a lot of value for those looking to learn the environment that is Magic Online before jumping in head first.

The author recommends:

Daryl Ayers

Daryl Ayers

Daryl is known for his love of all things Temu and can normally be seen waiting for standard tournaments to end so he can indulge his real loves for both Modern and Legacy. This normally is not the best strategy for a Magic player, but it has proven somewhat successful, resulting in multiple Pro Tour appearances as well as a handful of top 8’s on the SCG Open circuit and Grand Prix stage.

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